Jon Bon Jovi, the man responsible for your favorite karaoke and campfire sing-a-long jam "Living on a Prayer," wants to buy the Buffalo Bills and move them to Toronto. And Buffalo residents are furious.
We've seen this countless times in the NFL. Owners bicker with the league and city officials hoping for better facilities. And when they don't get what they want they skip out of town, leaving fans to suffer. If Jon Bon Jovi does move the Bills out of town, he'll join the ranks of many other detested owners whose names invoke hatred in the hearts of fans everywhere. Here are the most devastating franchise moves in NFL history.
Baltimore Colts / Indianapolis Colts
Imagine waking up one morning and realizing your favorite NFL team is no more. No warning, no advance notice, they just packed up and moved across country without any warning. That's what happened to Baltimore residents when the Colts left unannounced for Indianapolis in 1984. The Colts had received an enticing offer from Indianapolis after Baltimore couldn't convince the team to stay. Baltimore even tried to seize ownership of the team by power of eminent domain, but even that couldn't stop Robert Irsay from loading up the team in the middle of the night and shipping out. Colts fans were devastated, not only that they lost their team but the Colts name, which had been historically tied to Maryland's equestrian history. Baltimore did get a new franchise in the Ravens in 1996, but the pain of losing their first-born NFL love still haunts the city to this day.
Oakland / Los Angeles Raiders
Al Davis was one of the most controversial sports owners in history. So it's no surprise that his plan to move the Oakland Raiders down to L.A. in 1980 earned a lot of criticism. The move was originally denied by the NFL, but Davis still went anyways, filing an antitrust lawsuit against the league and winning the rights to play in L.A. for the 1982 season. Yet the team would only remain in southern California for 12 years until they moved back to Oakland in 1995.
St. Louis / Arizona Cardinals
A professional sports team that resides in a city known for brewing beer. Sounds like a match made in heaven, but the St. Louis Cardinals (not to be confused with the MLB team) just weren't picking up the pace by the of the end of the 1980's. The team was putting up poor numbers on the field, and a shoddy stadium and dwindling fan interest pushed the organization to Arizona in 1988.
Los Angeles Rams / St. Louis Rams
Los Angeles has become used to having no NFL team for the past few decades now. But back in the L.A. Rams' heyday, everyone in southern California loved watching this squad take the turf on Sundays. Everything seemed to turn south for the Rams in the 1990s though. Losing records, lack of playoff appearances and low ticket sales reduced Ram fandom through LA. Plus the team wasn't able to secure funds to improve their stadium, largely in part because of the recession in Orange County. With no foreseeable future left in LA, there was no choice for the Rams but to head to St. Louis.
It worked out for the Browns in the end, but when owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore for the 1996 season, he invoked the ire of nearly every northern-Ohio resident. The Browns kept their name and history during their inactivity, highly anticipating the arrival of a new team in the 1999 season. But Modell's shocking move is still held as a traitorous act by Browns' fans everywhere.
Interesting side note, when Cleveland was vacant of a NFL team from 1996-1999, other franchises used the prospect of moving to Cleveland as leverage for their home cities to build lavish new stadiums. Sound familiar, Los Angeles?
Houston Oilers / Tennessee Titans
Houston loved their Oilers, but couldn't produce enough oil to keep them there, literally. The team wanted a new stadium, but the energy crisis of the 1980s left Texas without much oil money to spend. So the Oilers announced their decision at the end of the 1995 season to move the team to Nashville. During those last years, fan numbers dwindled significantly, making the team a shell of their former success before they became the Titans.
Jon Bon Jovi owner of the Buffalo Bills? Here are six other teams that switched cities